Contact-mode polycrystalline silicon microdevices were tested in reciprocating sliding in high vacuum. Changes in the adhesion and friction properties of the microdevice sidewall surfaces were evaluated by tracking the development of the adhesion force and static friction coefficient with the accumulation of sliding cycles. After a run-in period of no discernible changes, the adhesion force increased monotonically with the number of sliding cycles, while the static coefficient of friction decreased continuously. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the existence of two sliding regimes where asperity deformation and adhesion were the dominant wear processes. The evolution of adhesion and static friction at sidewall contact interfaces is interpreted in the context of physicochemical phenomena intrinsic of poly-crystalline silicon microdevices.

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